Another day, another fast food chain gone viral — and not in a cute, “cats on the internet” way. No, this is in the freaky, “foodborne illnesses are on the rise” sense. The latest exposure was traced back to a McDonald’s location in Waterloo, New York, where the Seneca County Health Department confirmed a case of hepatitis A in one of the company’s employees, according to Reuters.
The operator of this particular McDonald’s branch, Jascor Inc., is now being sued by customer Christopher Welch for exposure to the virus, though Welch hasn’t fallen ill. He’s one of over a thousand customers who received vaccines at a clinic after dining at the restaurant in early November when an employee with hepatitis A was working, CNYCentral reports. There have not yet been confirmed cases of anyone getting sick from the exposure. A manager at the restaurant told Eater she “could not make any comment” on the news.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that the liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus is “highly contagious,” with symptoms appearing “anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks after exposure” and including fever, vomiting, dark urine, clay-colored bowel movements, and jaundice. The infection is usually transmitted “when an infected person does not wash his or her hands properly after going to the bathroom and touches other objects or food.” (That’s why those ubiquitous signs stating “Employees must wash hands before returning to work” are so important.)